2024 Opening Reception

Please join us for the 2024 Season Opening Reception:

Sunday, May 26th – 3:00 – 6:00pm

Margaret Lockwood Gallery – 7 South 2nd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Live music from the Storeroom Boys.

Note!: The 2nd Avenue parking lot is under construction – parking is available in the 2-story public lot between 1st and 2nd Ave, on Louisiana Street.

“Big Art” by Tom Groenfeldt

Big Art

Published in the Peninsula Pulse

In a rented studio space on the second floor of the Peninsula Art School, Ginnie Cappaert has completed her finishing touches on an abstract, cold-wax painting that is 5 feet by 7 feet. Paintings this size are rarely seen in Door County galleries because they would crowd out other works, and few artists have the space to create such large paintings in their own studios.

Artist Ginnie Cappaert with her 5-by-7 commission (she doesn’t have a title for it yet). Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

After being featured in Chicago City Life magazine (the publisher, Pam Berns, is a painter originally from Sister Bay), Cappaert got a call from a Chicago woman who commissioned a painting for her home in Sarasota, Florida. 

“Working big is much more physically exhausting – and exhilarating,” said Cappaert. “But a sense of freedom sets in because you are not confined by a smaller canvas.”

Painters like working big but they understand the constraints, especially the market constraints. Big paintings cost more and the number of people who have the money to buy a large work, and the space to hang it, is limited. 

“You have to find a client who has that kind of money to spend on a big piece,” said Mary Ellen Sisulak at Turtle Ridge Gallery in Ellison Bay.

Sisulak created mixed-media paintings, often on leather, with stones and pieces of wood.

That required custom wood settings, called “cradles,” customized with indentations to hold the stones and twigs.

“It can weigh a lot, and you need room to stand back from it [to view the whole work] and that can be challenging,” she said.

She is working on a commission that will be 50 inches by 70 inches. 

“It takes a lot more concentration, and a lot of planning, she said – but the effort was worth it. “You can express so much more in a large piece; it is such an impactful thing. It is a huge leap of faith. But the other thing is, if people know you can work that large, there are all types of corporate art that is also purchased, and public art. If you can work that big, it opens more options.”

Mary Ellen Sisulak with her paintings on leather. Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

For Emmett Johns of Fish Creek and Albuquerque, the Ameriprise office near Lambeau Field in Green Bay provided a venue. His 7-by-12 abstract painting is in the lobby, and a 10-by-10 piece is down a hall, he said.

“I did those in 2000 and rented the barn at Fish Stock in the autumn when their music was finished,” he said. “I painted my head off; it probably took three weeks. It got so cold I borrowed a big blower heater from a farmer who also provided scaffolding that I needed to work on the paintings.”

The challenges don’t end when a big painting is completed. Last summer, Johns sold an abstract painting, “Helsinki,” that was 70 inches by 52 inches. He made it to hang on one of the huge walls in Fish Creek’s Mr. Helsinki restaurant, now Shiny Moon Cafe.

A Chicago visitor saw it in Johns’ Fish Creek Gallery and when the visitor got home he asked Johns to email him an image for a second look. Then he bought it.

“I had to use Tony Staroska’s truck to take it down to Pack and Ship in Sturgeon Bay,” Johns said – where they crated it and sent it for $700. Cappaert will use an art specialist shipper based in North Carolina to pick up her big painting for the trip to Sarasota.

Getting a painting to its new owner isn’t the only challenge with large art works. Sarah Zamecnik, executive director of the Hardy Galley, said pricing can also be a disadvantage for artists who work big. 

“We had the artist Shar Coulson in a group show of big paintings several years ago,” Zamecnik said. “Her large works were stunning in person, but with a $20,000 price tag. If you’re an artist who makes work to sell, then you’re mindful of what the market wants and you make work to accommodate that demand. Shar’s work was priced for the Chicago market.”

Big paintings also present problems of storage – how many can an artist fit in a studio. Erin LaBonte at Yonder Gallery in Algoma has a creative storage solution: she creates woodcuts and then prints them on fabric.

“I can roll them up and put them aside,” she said. “The biggest will be on display in DePere probably, a five-foot by six-foot collage. I have always worked pretty large.”

LaBonte and her husband, Don Krumpos, have also done huge building-side murals from Fond du Lac to Sturgeon Bay. No storage to worry about there.

“I am not interested in all the small details,” said LaBonte. “I like to be more physical in my work. Scale, like in Margaret Lockwood’s work, draws me in.”

Sandra Martinez also likes physical effort in the large paintings she does on Tyvek (her storage solution is to roll the Tyvek works up around swimming pool noodles). She said it feels completely different to make a large work – it involves more of her body’s range of motion and requires a different cadence – and it’s a completely different experience to view one. 

“Viewing a large work makes you move – you are not peering,” Martinez said. “You experience it more as an environment that your body instinctually roams differently. Your head and neck, your whole body, shifts to explore another area in the work.”

She thinks the scale shift for some artists is driven by a desire for museum placement.

“What is powerful in a home at 2 feet by 3 feet is a postage stamp in a museum setting,” she said. “Those 15-foot ceilings are difficult to work with.”

Margaret Lockwood said she has always worked big.

Margaret Lockwood with two of her abstract paintings, both 4 foot by 5 foot and works in progress. Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

“Bigger than these,” she said, of three 4-by-5 canvases she is painting just off her main gallery space in Sturgeon Bay. “As Mark Rothko might have said, or maybe he didn’t, when you’re making paintings this big you’re just in them.”

Deaths Door Knockers Improv

This community group is constantly seeking and engaging folks wanting to 1- try something new, 2- enjoy some good belly laughs, 3- identify or work on their theatrical skills, and 4- play seriously. 

Utilizing “Second City” training methods and improv games, the KNOCKERS create original sketch comedy scripts. They produce and share some of them on their DOOR COUNTY COMEDY YouTube channel. Most of them they laugh about and move on. Who knows, one day they will put on a show. It’s about playing like a kid.

Those interested in finding out more may visit the group’s facebook page or email deathsdoorknockers@gmail.com. The group meets weekly in the INSIDE/OUT space at the Margaret Lockwood Gallery.

Write On, Door County

Margaret Lockwood Gallery and its INSIDE/OUT space is the Sturgeon Bay satellite location for several Write On activities, programs and events each season. These promote the Write On mission of inspiring people to write and share their stories.

The Gallery brings together artists and poets on a quarterly basis to respond to each other’s work. Both the Gallery and the Inside/Out space are frequent settings for readings, author conversations, writing workshops, and conference break-out sessions. 

More information about Write On, Door County events and programs can be found at writeondoorcounty.org

Isadoora Theatre Company

The INSIDE/OUT black box space in Margaret Lockwood Gallery’s lower level is the home of the Isadoora Theatre Company. 

Isadoora presents “adventurous” productions that celebrate theatre through its basic elements of movement, music, story and thought. Until the virus crisis the ensemble offered 4 productions each year with frequent script reading sessions and open tryouts. Usually, at least, one of the productions would go “on the road” within the region.  

Currently there are plans to find ways to safely engage our theatrical talent with sophisticated theatre-goers in Door County. We may try a production in the outdoor tiered amphitheater. Scripts from the community and through the Playwriters’ Collective are welcome for consideration.

Information about production schedules, tryouts and performances can be found on-line at 

www.isadooratheatrecompany.com and the facebook page.

What’s New at Margaret Lockwood?

Hello friends! We would like to give you some highlights from the last six months at Margaret Lockwood.

Back in January, Dan’s sculpture found the a perfect home. We think it looks great!

In February, Margaret began working on this beautiful new series. What do you all think of it? 

Margaret also finished work on these two new 20″x24″ paintings.

And here’s our final look at the gallery. 

We have hung the gallery with new work and are ready to open for the season. Just call us at 920-493-3635.

Happy Holidays

This is the time of year to be grateful, to reflect and to celebrate! First of all come family and friends, old and new, memories of those not with us anymore and traditions passed down through the years.

This year I also celebrate the wonderful city of Sturgeon Bay, our home for almost 5 years. We were so fortunate to find our abandoned building on 2nd Avenue and Michigan waiting for us!
It has been wonderful to see the changes and growth of the creative community since living here. To list a few: Isadoora Theater in our Indoor/Outdoor lower level space gaining popularity and experiencing sell-out audiences; the mentorship program of the Sturgeon Bay Art Crawl growing from 1 student to 4 this year; using the same space; Write On Door Co ekphrastic sessions in the gallery; Popelka Trenchard’s new Project Launch space with studios to artists and performance and/or exhibit space; the iconic granary saved with all kinds of creative opportunities; the new SWY building (old Advocate) open for so many exciting events to happen; Marcus to build a recording studio right next door to us.
And these are only the things I know about! There is good energy in Sturgeon Bay and it is building every year. More and more people are staying here for their vacations rather than going up north. Sturgeon Bay is becoming an art destination for many who have passed it by in years past. The Sturgeon Bay Art Crawl was a huge success this year with 300 people through my gallery alone.
As we approach the end of our 5th season, we are truly blessed to have such wonderful community support, good health, and such a happy family. We are grateful to live in Door County, a place where great artists thrive and good neighbors abound!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Margaret and Allin
Margaret Lockwood Gallery

Mentoring – Artistic Insights through Teaching

I have learned over the years that it is good for me, and for my own painting journey, to mentor or teach other artists along the way. While I am giving encouragement and advice to them, as a side effect I then also benefit from the relationship and enjoy being part of their development.

Margaret Lockwood Gallery artist mentoring

Looking at another’s paintings, I begin to understand what the artist wants to express. I try to give them ways to communicate more completely. We talk about the basic elements of art—line, color, shape, movement, balance, size, repetition and composition. We talk about different ways to fill the space on their canvas or paper. Also, we discuss different media and materials to experiment with, and subjects like: how to know when the work is finished, how to frame the piece, how to stretch their own canvases, how to write an artist statement, how to approach galleries and much more!

From my library I lend them my books of the artists I sense they will feel related to in some way, encouraging them to look at as much art as they can.

We use our lower level INSIDE/OUT space for the community to use their own creative ideas to produce theater, comedy, writing. We have found mentoring provides impartial advice and encouragement, develops supportive relationships, and improves self-confidence. All positive outcomes!

When I get back to my studio I find I can be more insightful and critical of my own painting. There is new energy for me to be expressive in my work. I continue to learn from those I teach who have also become good friends along the way.